In tandem with celebrating soul pioneer Otis Redding’s 81st birthday and legacy, the Otis Redding Foundation will host a groundbreaking ceremony and fundraiser events for the future Otis Redding Center for the Arts on Sept. 9-10 in Macon, Georgia.
Slated to open in 2023, the Otis Redding Center for the Arts will be housed in an 11,000 square-foot space. To further foster music education for students from ages 3-18, the center will offer learning labs, collaborative spaces, practice rooms and a stage for performances.
“Expanding our educational footprint in downtown Macon has been a longtime goal,” says Karla Redding-Andrews, vp/executive director of the Otis Redding Foundation and the late artist’s daughter. “We’re so excited to be breaking ground. With the expansion, we’ll be able to provide so many more opportunities for music and arts programming for young people in our community. We can’t wait to share our vision of progress through education with visitors from around the world as we celebrate dad’s 81st birthday.”
The Otis Redding Foundation was established in 2007 to empower, enrich and motivate young people through music. Since then, the foundation has helmed a variety of programs including the annual Otis Music Camp for ages 12-18, Camp DREAM for ages 5-11, music education workshops, private and group lessons and opportunities to perform on iconic stages such as the Ryman Theater in Nashville,
Adds Redding’s widow Zelma Redding, “Education was a priority of my late husband and implementing it through music and the arts was our biggest dream. That educational legacy is carried on through each student that the foundation is able to reach. And we hope that Otis is remembered as an agent of progress in his community just as much as he’s loved for the music that he was able to create during his life.”
The foundation’s weekend-long celebration — its first in person since the pandemic — kicks off Sept. 9 (Redding’s birthday) with the groundbreaking. The ceremony will be followed that night by An Evening of Respect concert featuring Glasper and Guyton at Macon’s historic Grand Opera House. During the event, the foundation will also honor supporters DJ Derrick “D-NICE” Jones, Georgia luminaries Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones) and his entrepreneur/wife Rose Lane Leavell, Dr. Vickie Perdue Scott of Legacy Builders Foundation and Dr. C. David Keith of Mercer University.
The Big “O” Homecoming Show will cap the weekend’s festivities on Sept. 10. The tribute show is a nod to Redding’s own Homecoming Show and Dance that he hosted throughout the 1960s at the Macon City Auditorium. Taking the stage at the Capitol Theatre for the 2022 version will be Kendra Morris, Monophonics and The War and Treaty.
For more information on the Otis Redding Foundation and its upcoming legacy celebration, click here.